Here’s a partial series of Q&A’s that some Patriot players had in the locker room after today’s game:
Rodney Harrison, Safety
(On breaking records as a team)
It’s just records. It’s just something we can talk about when we are older and retired. It has no bearing on what we have to do for preparation for next week and we need to just stay focused.
(On what satisfied him the most in this win)
The guys coming out and playing with emotion and understanding how we needed to play the Dolphins because they are a very dangerous team. Going out there and making plays, goal line stands, red zone stands, were all big for us.
(On the improved Patriot red zone defense)
Just doing our own jobs and executing and not worrying about anyone else. We just need to make sure we communicate and make plays because that’s what it comes down too.
(On if next week’s potential 16th win means any more than the others)
I just want to win a ball game. The media has made a big fuss about it but its business as usual for us. We are going to have a day or two off and then come back here on Wednesday and focus on the Giants and try to win the ball game.
Laurence Maroney, Running Back
(On David Ortiz wearing his jersey)
David is my friend and I noticed it when he first walked in and I gave him a look and he smiled back at me. When I go to a Red Sox game I will definitely be wearing one of his jerseys.
(On his 50+ yard runs)
I can’t take credit for those plays because the O-line and Heath Evans did such a good job blocking that anyone could have run through that. All I had to do is show some speed and make sure not to get caught. I didn’t have to make to many moves or run through anyone because it was that open so all I had to do was run to the end zone.
(On Randy Moss’s downfield blocking)
He was doing an excellent job blocking for me and the defensive back kept backing up so as long as Randy Moss keeps chasing him I’m just going to run behind him. I was hoping he would stay inside so I could go outside and outrun him but he kept turning when I turned which gave the defense time to come up and pursuit.
(On if he knew he was that open downfield)
I didn’t know until I looked up at the jumbotron and realized no one was around me. I then slowed down to save my legs a little bit because this could have been a long game.
(On gaining experience in his second season)
I feel a lot better, having a whole year on me to know what to expect, how to manage my body, how to take care of my body. Coming in last year, I had to deal with a college bowl game, the combine training, the actual combine, then the actual pro day, then your draft, then you’ve got your mini camps then you’ve got your training camp, so it was a long process. I can definitely say my body feels a lot better than it was last year
Wes Welker, Wide Receiver
(On whether he thought the Patriots had a “sloppy” second half)
Yeah, all of a sudden we didn’t play better in the second half. We need to be a second half-type team and make sure we’re putting things together. But [the Dolphins] did a great job out there. You have to give Miami credit. Luckily, we had a good first half and we were able to hold onto the lead.
(On if hitting the century mark in receptions on the season was significant for him)
I think it’s something I can look back at, but right now it’s not a big deal. I’m focused on the next game and ready to go to New York.
(On if it’s indicative of the success the Patriots have had this season that all the criticism is about one bad half)
Yeah. That’s the way it is, though. We realize that half isn’t the type of half we want to play. Anyways, that’s the way it goes.
(On what kind of significance going 16-0 has)
None. It’s the next game and that’s the way we’re going to treat it. That’s the way we’re going to go about it.
(On what he does when people ask him about going undefeated)
I think people know better than to ask me about it. Except you all.
(On if he would like to get Tom Brady the single-season passing touchdown record)
I think it would be something we could look back at. I know it’s nothing that Tom worries about and nothing that we worry about. We’re just out there trying to execute and run our plays and if it happens along the way than great.
(On how important it is to be playing good football going into the playoffs)
There are still opportunities to get better, through practice and through these games. So we need to continue to get better and to grow as a team and make sure we’re ready to go into the playoffs.
Kevin Faulk, Running Back
(On if things slowed down offensively for a reason)
I’m not sure what the reason was, but we’re going to hear about it. There were mistakes we made as an offense and we’re going to hear about them from coach. That’s just what he does as a coach. He doesn’t ignore our mistakes. He doesn’t let them pass by.
(On how much he wants to help Tom Brady set the single-season, passing touchdowns record)
Of course we want to see him get it, but – he knows just like we know – if he focuses on the team all the other stuff will take care of itself.
(On if Miami did anything differently defensively in the second half)
Not really. They did the little things and they play hard. At the same time, we made a lot of mistakes and we didn’t move the ball.
(On if Bill Belichick reminding the team of its mistakes comes with the territory)
Knowing Coach Belichick, that’s what you come to expect. There’s something teaching going on, some coaching going on. That’s just how the organization and the coaching staff is set up. No matter how many wins we get, we’re still going to get our coaching.
Jarvis Green, Defensive End
(On if the team thinks about going undefeated)
Yeah, we think about it here and there, but we know we have to concentrate and get better. There are still things we have to work on. We know it’s going to get harder in these last games. I know we have to prepare for the Giants and stay under control.
Junior Seau, Linebacker
(On how important it was for the defense to set the tone with some hard hits early in the game)
It was nice to start off early. Coming out there, trying to execute everything that we tried to do, we started off good. We tapered off a little at the end. There are some things we need to work on. Trying to finish. Being able to finish. I’m sure there’s more out there than meets the eye, but we’ll look at that another day.
(On the play of Mike Vrabel Sunday)
Mike has been doing that all year. He’s obviously a Pro Bowler. He comes to work every day during the week and prepares himself like no other. We’re happy to have him on our team.
(On Vrabel forcing Cleo Lemon out-of-bounds shy of the end zone)
He took a flat angle. As old as we get, angles are key in this game. He went in there, took a great angle at it, and he got him out for us.
(On the hits by Rodney Harrison and James Sanders early on and if they inspired the defense)
Well, you have to throw our little rookie in there. [Brandon] Meriweather had a good one there, too. Our safeties came up and really set the tone in terms of the hits that they placed and did a great job of really controlling that middle.
(On if there was any sentiment that there was something missing in the Patriots’ performance in the second half)
When you look at it, it was 28-0 in the first half. When you get back in the second half, you have to finish it. I know we’re saying that to each other, that we can do a better job of finishing. It’s going to be something that we’re obviously going to tell each other and try to learn from. It’s definitely a point of emphasis.
(On if the team is ready for a week of “16-0” questions)
We’re going to enjoy this. It was something that was a gift to each other, being one of the first [teams] to be 15-0 at this point of the season. It was something that was very important to us. So we’re going to go on from there.
Tedy Bruschi, Linebacker
(On breaking NFL records )
Records come along, individual recognition comes along, team recognition comes along. We’ve done that consistently this year and when you can win consistently like we have it’s going to happen. We aren’t shooting for anything. We’ve got to just focus on who we have in front of us. We’re not going to worry about what records we’re going to break because that’s how you have success.
(On the defense appreciating the offense’s improved running game)
In terms of being a member of the defense and the hard-nosed type of guys we are, we appreciate good running. We know it’s the ultimate sort of insult when someone can run it down your throat. That’s happened to us this year – so to see our offense do it – we recognize what they’re doing in there. A lot has to happen. Those offensive linemen have to open up holes and our running backs have to hit those. [Laurence] Maroney had two big runs and that’s just as enjoyable if not more enjoyable than a Randy Moss bomb.
(On the improved red zone defense)
We’ve just been emphasizing it every week, talking about how we were at the bottom of the league in some statistical categories. There are a lot of prideful guys in this locker room and when you tell us we’re doing terrible at something, we want to fix it.
Adalius Thomas, Linebacker
(On the red zone defense)
It’s big. That wins games for you. Definitely I think over the past couple of weeks stepping up big in the red zone has helped us. It’s a momentum shifter, especially when you go for it on fourth down, you go down there deep and don’t get any points, that’s a big momentum shift for our offense and our team.
(On striving to go 16-0)
It doesn’t matter. This game doesn’t change anything, the ramifications of it don’t change anything. You just have to focus on your job, that’s how you really have to look at it. The goal is to go out and perform week in and week out. Of course you don’t want to lose at this point and that’s the ultimate goal, so you just want to go out there and prepare week-to-week. The goal is to go out there and beat the Giants and move from that point on.
(On big hits by Rodney Harrison and James Sanders)
It sends a message that it’s going to be a physical day. They were sweet. They left a bitter taste in your mouth. It makes guys go over the middle and when they go to look for the ball maybe make them take a double take. I think it just shows you the physicality of the secondary, that guys went out and hit people.
Jabar Gaffney, Wide receiver
(On the touchdown pass that Schulters tried to intercept.)
I really don’t know. I know that I saw him coming and I tried to shield away from him a little bit and Tom [Brady] made a great throw and the ball got there before he did and I was able to grab it and keep going.
(On how much concentration did it take to keep the defender out of your eyesight to make the catch)
We work on that all the time in practice, we have to make that catch. If Tom [Brady] makes it and gets the ball to us we have to pull it down no matter who’s around us. My hat’s off to our receivers coach [Nick Caserio] for putting us through a lot of hand and eye coordination drills and distraction drills.
(On Tom Brady potentially setting the touchdown pass record)
Yes, we definitely want to get it for him, we will go out there next week and fight hard and hopefully it will happen.
Asante Samuel, Cornerback
(On the defense)
We are not worried about that. Whatever the media wants to talk about is what they will talk about. We just want to win and go out and play hard defense like we always do and make plays and it’s a team effort. The offense scores and they do a lot of good things over there and we try to do our job on the defensive side.
Ellis Hobbs III, Cornerback
(On the possibility of going 16-0)
It’ll be just like the other wins. You have to take it in stride and understand and then continue to move because 16-0 is great, but that wasn’t our goal starting this year off. Getting to the final game and winning – that’s our goal. But how do we get there? Step by step, enjoy the victories and then move on.
(On whether he was disappointed by the team’s second-half performance)
It’s just something that… I don’t know what comes over us. We had some great red zone stops. We gave up the one touchdown, but you can’t be disappointed. It was 28-7. My hats off to the Dolphins, they played a hard game.
Troy Brown, Wide Receiver
(On how emotional the game was for him)
It’s up there with the others. Actually, it’s a great gift being around so long and having the chance to come back here and be a part of win and actually be able to contribute in a good way. It was definitely pleasing. It was definitely a great feeling, just the roar I got from the crowd the first time I went out there.
(On the ovation he received from the crowd)
It was great. It was special. I’ve been here my whole career and get a welcome back like that in your home stadium was a pretty touching moment for me and I appreciate it.
(On whether the second half was disappointing for the offense)
Obviously, you want to score some points. We didn’t do that. We turned the ball over a few times in the second half and that’s not the way you want to finish the game. But the first half was great, got out to a big score and put some points on the board real fast. Obviously, you want to finish the game better than we did. We didn’t put up any points at all in the second half so that was a little bit disappointing, but in the end we did get the win.
(On whether he would have the opportunity to play)
I don’t know about that. I don’t have any control over that. I just go out there and put my best effort out there every day and leave the rest up to the coaching staff to decide who’s going to play. I’m always getting ready because my team deserves that I’m ready if they need me to go out there and play so I need to be ready to go.
(On his final punt return of the game)
I wish I would have taken it to the house, but you can’t be greedy and I can live with that. You have to enjoy the good times; you can be down about the bad times, but don’t be too much of either. You can’t spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself. You’ve got to get back out there and do it again. That’s what you’ve got to do in this league and that’s kind of what I did today. Dust myself off and get the rest of them. Like I said, I had the home crowd behind me.
Here’s the full transcript of the Q&A session Tom Brady had with the media after today’s game:
Q: Tom how do you feel coming out of that second half? Are you happy with the win or are you frustrated with the way things went the last 30 minutes?
TB: It’s great to be 15-0. I thought it was a great first half and I thought we played really well. In the second half we just didn’t execute very well, certainly not the way we wanted to but, fortunately, we played well enough in the first half to create a big enough lead to – where the defense I thought played great. We just didn’t help them out much in the second half. There’ll be – we’ll try to make the corrections but everyone is happy to be 15-0.
Q: Were those deep balls to [Randy] Moss in double and sometimes triple coverage, were those just ‘well this is the only thing left that I can do on this play’ or were they designed in any way?
TB: Part of the plan was to try to get him up running through the middle of the field. He’s pretty dangerous when he does it. We’ll just have to see the film, maybe there were other guys but sometimes you see him run there and just want to lay it up there for him.
Q: Winning is the most important thing. How do you feel about every time you touched the ball today you were closing in or setting some kind of record?
TB: I think it’s exciting for the team. A lot of those team records are really fun, the most points scored and touchdowns and so forth, those are pretty cool records considering the history of the NFL and the incredible teams that have played – the incredible offensive football teams and to think that we’ve been up there with the best of them is exciting. Hopefully, we can continue to play well next week and going forward but, you’re right, winning is most important and I think that’s really what everyone’s concerned with. There’s a lot of happy people in the locker room.
Q: Tom, I know you like to throw it but how did you think [Laurence] Maroney did today?
TB: It was great. It was great. I thought it was one of the best games he’s played. He had some great runs there was some great blocking by Heath [Evans] on both those runs. Heath had some great blocks. Receivers blocked downfield. That’s always critical on those long runs, so I thought Laurence played great. It’s exciting to see for him. Sometimes people forget about him but we certainly don’t. He obviously [has] big play capability that he showed today.
Q: How tough is it out there without the tight ends in this offense? Going with three and four wide, what does it do for you?
TB: You lose some opportunities and you’d love to have the tight ends that we’ve had because they’re great players for us and they’re very productive. Going against a team like this who rushes the passer well, sometimes it’s good to have the tight ends but that’s not the case. They’re getting healthy and it’ll be nice to get them at full strength when we get them.
Q: How close was the touchdown to [Jabar] Gaffney to being interception in your view. It looked like [Lance] Schulters had a bead on it?
TB: Very close. I threw it about as hard as I could. I’m glad I threw the fastball on that one and it was great play by [Jabar].
Q: There were a couple of times where you threw a couple of deep ones to Randy [Moss] when he was, I guess triple covered. What were you thinking on those plays?
TB: We talked all week about trying to get up on those safeties and trying to give Randy an opportunity down the middle. Those guys were pretty deep and you try to lay it up there to give him an opportunity to make the play. It works out pretty well when he catches them; when he doesn’t, it doesn’t look so good. [We] just try to make them defend the deep part of the field and open up things underneath. I think about the second half and we just didn’t execute really the way I thought we were capable but they know Randy’s going deep and hopefully they continue to defend it, [that] will open up things for everybody else.
Q: Team records are obviously most important but how much would you like to see Randy [Moss] get that Jerry Rice – what’s he need two more – would that be another milestone in this season?
TB: Like I said when you look back at the end of your career and you’ll be excited about individual records and Randy, everyone knows he’s a great player, whether he gets the record or not, he’s a great player. He’s had an incredible season for us and it’s obvious they pay a lot of attention to him when he’s out there on the field, as they should, and you have to find ways to keep him involved. He ran a great route on his first touchdown. [His] second touchdown was a great catch and yeah whenever he’s open he usually gets it. Even when he’s not open sometimes I throw it up there.
Q: When you’re that close to a record, whether it’s you or Randy [Moss] or the team you only get so many shots at it so I would think it would be tempting next week to try to grab it. Because you played so much baseball as a kid you can’t go up trying to hit homeruns. How will you – do you consciously have to discipline yourself or are you just going to play like you always play?
TB: I think you always try to play very disciplined and you try to do what – as a quarterback you try to play however the defense is playing you. [You] try to find the weakness of the coverage and find the open guy. I know the receivers are working hard to get open and I just have to find them. They made it tough during the second half. They were rushing well, they’ve got some good, very productive pass rushers on that team and we missed the opportunities that we had. We have to figure out what the problem was and try to correct it.
Q: You went big at the 1-yard-line. How much of that was a fake so you could get Randy in a quick one-on-one and get the score and how much of that was ‘hey were going to get this; let’s throw it instead of run it’? In theory you could have run it.
TB: I think that’s – [when] they leave him one-on-one down there he’s usually pretty good at getting open on that so sometimes that’s the best opportunity to score rather than give it to Laurence and try to let 10 guys stop him. Or [Kyle] Eckel, whoever was in there on that play. You try to pick your best match-up and Randy was a great match-up on that play.
Q: Is it hard to appreciate 15-0 because there is still so much left to play for?
TB: It just feels like every week kind of rolls into the next. It’s such a long season and I know when we started this season you’re always looking at the schedule going, “Yup, this one looks – we can win this one” and I guess every time I do that we end up 16-0. We have an opportunity this week to play the Giants and hopefully get to 16-0. I think that would be a great accomplishment for this team. Coach has kept pressure on us all week, this past week, really all season he’s coached us very [hard] and we’ve responded and we need to continue to respond.
Q: What did it mean to have Troy Brown out there and was there any temptation on your part to look for him on those few offensive plays when he was in to try to get him a catch?
TB: Troy is very elusive, like Wes [Welker], underneath and he wasn’t in there a whole lot but yeah, I’m always looking for Troy. He had some great punt returns. I know he’s bummed out about the one that bounced off his facemask, but he’s a competitor and he came back and had two great returns after that. It shows his mental toughness and his resiliency and I know there’s a lot of excitement for him. He told me he was nervous on Wednesday night, he couldn’t sleep, because he was so excited [that] he saw his name on the call sheet and he was going to be involved, so he was really excited.
Q: Was it exciting for you guys to see him out there?
TB: Oh yes, of course. No one works harder then Troy [Brown] and since I’ve been here he’s been the leader of the offense. He’s a great example to all the players of what it takes to be successful over the course of a long career and we’re lucky to have him on the team. Every time he’s out there I’m excited for him and I know he loves to play football and he’s everything we’re about so it was great to see him.
Q: I met a fan today, Patriots fan, who said he would give up his fiancé if he could see a perfect season, who or what would you give…
TB: Is that right? (Laughs) Wow. Poor girl. Pretty disposable I guess, man. What would I give up? It’d be a hell of an accomplishment, I’d say that. I have to think long and hard about that one, I don’t want to offend anybody, especially not anyone that’s close to me. I don’t think I’d give up a family or friend or anything like that.
Q: Tom do you have any Christmas plans?
TB: Any Christmas plans? Yeah to celebrate like everybody else, it’s a helluva holiday.
Q: Family and friends?
TB: Yeah family and friends (laughs). Bye guys, Merry Christmas.
Here’s the full Q&A session Bill Belichick had with the media after today’s game:
BB: That was a good win for us out there today. I thought we played real well in the first half [and] did a lot of good things. Miami played us tough all the way through, though. We made a couple plays there early in the game but they were tight and I thought they did a good job in the second half, especially defensively. It was good to win. We had a lot of people contribute. It would be hard to single anybody out. We had certainly a lot of production offensively, our defense came up with a couple big stops in the red area and [we had] a solid day on special teams. [I’m] happy to win. It’s good to win the division, sweep the division, and we’re getting ready to move on to New York next week. [It’s a] short week, [with the] holiday and all that, so we have a lot in front of us. We’ll have to pack a lot in in just a short amount of time this week, but hopefully we can do that.
Q: Can you talk about Laurence Maroney today, both his two long runs and overall?
BB: He’s done a good job for us all year and it’s nice – It’s always nice to see a back break through the line of scrimmage clean, especially a guy like Laurence. He’s got great speed. [He can] get out there and he can turn a short run into a long run in a hurry. Similar kind of to the short-yardage play we had against Jacksonville last year, where he split the line of scrimmage. Not a lot of guys can run him down. It was a nice play, well blocked. It’s good.
Q: Was it nice to see Troy Brown back?
BB: Of course. Yeah. Troy gave us – He played a few plays on offense and then a little bit in the kicking game, returning. It’s always good to have Troy back.
Q: In the second half, were you trying to force some plays to maybe get records for Tom Brady or Randy Moss?
BB: Trying to run our offense. That’s all we did. We didn’t really have much of a tight end offense. We eliminated that going into the game, and so we went with what we had. That’s really all we did the whole game, other than a few short-yardage plays, but the rest of it was some type of mainly four receivers, a little bit of three receivers, but that was it. That’s all we had. We planned to go into the game with that, and that’s what we did.
Q: Could you talk about the historical significance of 15-0?
BB: It’s good to win and we’re not really too hung up on that. We’re just – We’ll get ready for next week. We’ll take one week at a time and get ready for next week. I’m sure that’s what you were looking for.
Q: Were you concerned about the turnovers in the second half?
BB: We never want to turn the ball over. Believe me, we don’t call plays and say, “Well, we might turn this over.” That’s – We don’t want to do that. Yeah, taking care of the ball… What did we have, three today? That’s three more than our goal is every week. It’s not to turn the ball over at all and so, unfortunately, we had a couple. [We] want to try to eliminate all of those.
Q: You talked about Maroney getting through the line clean. Was that also a function of being able to read his blocks and reading where the holes are so he can get through?
BB: Sure, yeah. It’s a combination of good blocking and good running, yeah. Having some patience in there. Sometimes it’s hard to see how those interior line blocks go from the sideline. I couldn’t tell you exactly how, but the short-yardage, obviously we split that one. And we had a couple good runs on — as we had to spread our offense out a little bit, we were able to hit a couple of creases in there and get Laurence through the line. I mean, that’s great. [It] gives us good balance offensively.
Q: How do you plan on spending Christmas?
BB: With my family. I hope we can all do that as a team.
Q: I assume your approach will be the same with the people you play in the final game?
BB: We’ll do what’s best for our football team, same as always.
Q: How do you feel about the idea of playing next week and being 16-0?
BB: We treat every week the same. [I’ll] try to do what’s best for the football team next week, same as we always do. It’s nothing different. Whatever it is, that’s what it’s going to be.
Q: What’s best for the football team – trying to win next week or looking at the big picture?
BB: Whatever is best for the football team, that’s what we’ll do. If it’s to run it, if it’s to pass it, if it’s to blitz, if it’s to line up in an unbalanced line, if it’s to put – Whatever.
Q: Will the Giants dictate what you do, as far as resting players?
BB: We’re concerned about our football team. I’m not worried about anybody else. There’s no other team that concerns me. I’m worried about what our football team does. That’s the only one I coach.
Q: Did you sense there was any lack of focus in the second half or was it strictly the Dolphins making adjustments?
BB: No, I thought it was a competitive game all the way through. I really did. As I said, a couple of the plays that we hit were close plays. We hit a long run there, but the Dolphins did a good job. We’ve seen them all through the year. They’ve played a lot of close games, played well last week, have been in a lot of tight games. I mean, they’ve lost some tough games. They’re a good football team. They’ve lost some tough games and I thought they played us well, just like they did in the second half down there.
Q: You didn’t feel once you got up 28-0 that your guys let up a little bit, unwittingly?
BB: No, I don’t think so. No. I mean, I don’t think we – offensively, especially – that we executed as well as we could have, but you know, I give the Dolphins credit for that, too. They’ve got good players and they made some plays.
Q: You always talk about taking one game at a time. Are you saying there’s no special significance that the next game could put you on a historical —
BB: Well, we look at each week as its own week, so I’m not going to worry about what happened last week or two weeks ago or five weeks ago. It doesn’t make any difference. Right now all we’re concerned about is this week and that’s what we’ll put our focus on. At some point there might be a time to reflect back on it, but right now… We’ll do that some other time.
Here’s teh full Q&A that Randy Moss had with the media after today’s game:
Q: How nice was it for you to play alongside Troy Brown today?
RM: I think I was as excited as he was. I’ve always been a fan of Troy and I like the things he does in the slot as far as his quickness and his hands. I was just anxious to see him out there and be a part of the receiving corps again.
Q: Did you think as quickly as you started that you might get number 22 today [to tie Jerry Rice’s single season touchdown reception record]?
RM: As you saw, the way we were trying to go downfield I really wasn’t paying attention. I think once I caught my first one I was like, “Ok, this could be a long day” and then once they started playing defense – we came out [in the] second half and they made their adjustments. I just wanted to get the win. Like I said before, that record has been, I don’t know how many years, but it’s been up for a very long time. Records are meant to be broken and if I break the record I’m cool, if I don’t I’m cool. As long as that zero stays in that [losses] column, I’m fine. Basically what I’m saying is I want to keep winning, the hell with the record.
Q: Would you like to get Tom [Brady] the passing touchdown record?
RM: I’m not speaking for Tom; I’m speaking for myself. This is a team. There’s no individual play here and I that’s how coach prepares us week in and week out. He wants his team to go out there and do whatever we can to win the game. Like I said, if the touchdown record for wide receiver is broken, it’s broken. If it’s not, it’s not, as long as we keep doing what we’re doing and keep winning.
Q: You had some good blocks on [Laurence] Maroney’s first long run. He seemed pretty appreciative of that.
RM: I told Maroney I tried to – the guy was on his heels a little bit and I was taught at a young age, at the beginning of my career, when you are out in the open space like that -I try my best to cut the guy so that gives the running back a little bit more vision so he can see more of the field. By my body presence and the DB’s body presence it’s like you see zigging in and out. Basically I was trying to go at him and hopefully he would bring his feet together so I could try and cut him and get him out of Laurence’s way, but you saw him keep backpedaling. I just did whatever I could just to – I thought Maroney was going to go all the way across the field. Like I say, we win as a team, we lose as a team so it was just a team effort by everybody.
Q: Are you happy with where you are personally at this stage in the season?
RM: I don’t have any complaints.
Q: Do you think it’s important to keep taking those shots downfield to you when you have double, triple coverage, even when the play’s not working?
RM: I mean, hell, I’m Randy Moss. What do you expect? (laughter)
Q: After you score a touchdown you do this, what does this [your touchdown celebration] mean?
RM: At the beginning of the year, you guys talked about how I lost my step and really wasn’t into the game of football. Coming off my hamstring injury in training camp that – I don’t even know how long the play was, but it was against the Jets, that long 70-80-something yarder. I thought to myself that physically I didn’t think that I was able to do that, to run like that, because I’m coming straight off a hamstring injury – so for me to be able to part the defense like I did that’s basically me parting the defense. That’s where it came from.
Q: Did you think you got interfered with on that bomb that you were triple covered? It looked like you got jostled.
RM: All I know is it hurt. That’s all I know. Physically, it did hurt. There are a lot of things in the game that you really don’t feel until after the game, but that kind of hurt me. I went over to the ref, I think after the next series or something, and I asked him about that play, and he said, “We all had our heads around looking for the ball.” It was a good call.
Q: With so much still to play for, is it hard to appreciate the historical significance of 15-0?
RM: I don’t think the people, and when I say people I mean the fans of the game of football, I don’t think they realize what we’re doing, how hard [we’re working for] what we’re trying to accomplish. Coach Belichick, before this team was ever brought together, he already had a history of being able to get things done late in the season, basically, as far as playoff time, to make that run. This year, what we’ve done, we’ve put in a lot of hard work on the field and in the classroom. We sort of argue, but not toward him, amongst each other, about how hard it is throughout the week and [him] putting those pads on us last week was really physically hard. What we’re trying to accomplish, I really see it coming together. I know we have the New York Giants next week; they’re standing in our way. Hopefully we can get a victory. I know we’re going to New York to put 11 on the field and see what happens.
Q: Have you ever been part of a team that has been so good at maintaining its focus throughout the season?
RM: I think that’s hats off to Coach Belichick. Because you have a lot of different guys, a lot of different personalities. And with the success that we’re having, to be honest with you, it really is kind of hard, and I’m not really talking about this team, I’m just saying when you have things going good like that, it’s hard to keep everybody on the same page. It’s hard to keep everybody focused. That’s a credit to Coach Belichick and what he’s done from the start of this thing to the end of it. So he has a tone or a beat, that we’re beating to, trying to stay in rhythm. That’s what we’re beating to now: his beat.
Q: With the ’98 Vikings, you had a great season, but you didn’t close the deal. How much has that influenced you, in terms of not getting wrapped up in all the records?
RM: The one thing I don’t try to do is I don’t try to live in the past. I still have memories of my 10-year career in the NFL. But that one hurt, it really hurt. But, like I said, I don’t really try to live in the past. I try to love in the present. What we have ahead of us now is really what I’m trying to put my mind to and go out and give it my all.
With Miami’s third-quarter touchdown pass from Cleo Lemon to Greg Camarillo, it marks the first offensive touchdown the Patriots have allowed in two weeks — a stretch of eight-plus quarters.
We are compiling an unscientific list of how many snaps the New England linebackers have played. Here are our first-half numbers:
Of the 35 offensive snaps the Dolphins took in the first half:
Mike Vrabel played 35.
Adalius Thomas played 35.
Junior Seau played 29.
Tedy Bruschi played 24.
No other New England player was at linebacker in the first half.
The Patriots have now failed to allowed an offensive touchdown for eight-plus quarters. The last offensive touchdown scored on New England was by Pittsburgh on Nov. 26, when Ben Roethlisberger connected with Najeh Davenport on a 32-yard TD late in the second quarter.
With Mike Vrabel’s second-quarter sack of Miami quarterback Cleo Lemon, he becomes the first Patriot since Willie McGinest in 1995 to reach double-digits in sacks.
The Patriots’ defense has now gone seven-plus quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown. The last offensive touchdown scored on New England was by Pittsburgh on Nov. 26, when Ben Roethlisberger connected with Najeh Davenport on a 32-yard TD late in the second quarter.
•The Tom Brady to Randy Moss first-quarter touchdown is the Patriots’ 68th TD of the season, second-best in NFL history.
•And with his first-quarter appearance, Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown has now played in 192 games for New England — fourth-most in franchise history.